The bimonthly Cycle Magazine landed on our doormat last week. This is the principal publication of the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC), the largest national organisation in the country representing the interests of cyclists like me. For me, the magazine is compulsive reading; not a magazine that I dip into like a buffet spread, but one that has multiple a la carte dishes that I ‘eat’ my way through methodically, looking forward to the ‘desert and coffee’ at the end. With pen in hand, I underline, circle and make margin notes against things that I need to re-visit when the leisurely read from cover-to-cover is over. Some of the items need some kind of immediate action (eg. the transfer of dates to the diary), others need investigating further (eg product reviews), and others simply merit a second read (especially the well written articles on adventurous expeditions around the world). It took me the best part of a week to meander through the 84 pages until I got to the last section entitled Travellers’ Tales, a section where readers can submit a short, pithy account of some major cycling experience they have recently enjoyed. In this edition, the section was dedicated to the famous and well-travelled LEJOG (Land’s End to John O’Groats), a 1000 mile route that will challenge even the most experienced cyclist.
The first article described the experience of a blind ‘stoker’ riding on the back of a tandem captained by a sighted rider. The second was written by a couple of newly-weds who decided to spend their honeymoon riding from north to south. The third, entitled End to End at 80, was an astonishing account of 80 year old Clive Williams, who had not only completed the distance, but had done so in only two weeks, averaging about 70 miles per day. Then, as I began reading the last account, entitled Riding into retirement, I suddenly had a feeling of deja vu. I read the first few lines, looked at the two small photos, looked for the credits………………. and you could have knocked me over with a feather! I was actually reading about my own End to End ride completed back in July 2008, just a few days after my retirement from teaching. This was an article I had submitted over three years ago, and it was only now seeing the light of day! Is this an example of ‘good things happening to those who wait’?